MINNEAPOLIS — Say what you will about New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but you can't deny her ability to connect on social media.
She has 4.3 million followers on Twitter and 3.5 million on Instagram. So when she posts something, people tend to notice. And all that attention was not something one Minneapolis non-profit was not prepared for.
24 hours or so ago, the team at Green Card Voices was not expecting to be in a mass assembly line for deliveries. Green Card Voices is a non-profit in South Minneapolis that highlights immigration stories. They interview immigrants and ask them about their experience. They publish books with these stories in them. They also make a deck of cards called "Story Stitch" to help guide conversations into deeper territory.
This story focuses on their Story Stitch cards. Wednesday afternoon, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez featured those specific cards on her Instagram Story, explaining to her followers that she uses them at staff meetings. She featured the box and some of the cards.
"I get a little notification every time a card deck is sold and it's usually once or twice a day normally," Green Card Voices executive director Tea Rozman Clark said. "But at 3:15 p.m. I had no idea what was happening but it literally was like 'ping ping ping' kept on going."
Little did Rozman Clark know, her product had been featured on AOC's account and was sold out. Her social media intern, Cesar Perez Veliz said he was shocked at the growing number of followers on the accounts he manages.
"I definitely started freaking out," Perez Veliz said. "I had to do a double-take on Instagram to see if it was real. Like did she actually just mention us? I had to take a breath, and I was like oh my gosh this is real."
The premise of the Story Sitch deck is simple. Shaped just like a deck of playing cards, the cards bear questions like "Tell about a significant story in your life that you will always remember," or "tell a story of when you felt mistreated by someone."
Some cards yield difficult questions. Some are more chipper like "tell a story about a time you felt like you were home."
Created by immigrants like Rozman Clark and Perez Veliz, Rozman Clark said the deck is supposed to help build empathy, and it's not just for folks who have an immigration story to share.
"Our mission is really to build empathy and connected-ness to the wider community by sharing stories of immigrants and refugees," Rozman Clark said. "Also by utilizing the art of storytelling and sharing all of our stories."
Right now the Story Stitch deck is sold out but Rozman Clark promised to deliver more as soon as they become available.